Review by horror_spooky
"More heartbreaking than Transformers: The Movie"
When Netflix added all the seasons of Transformers to their instant streaming service, I was ecstastic. As a kid, I can remember the show and toys fondly, and they were both a large part of my childhood. I watched through all of the seasons and even the absolutely soul-crushing movie between seasons 2 and 3, but I found myself still itching for more Transformers. I remembered that a Transformers game came out for the Xbox 360 not too long ago, and since its sequel, Fall of Cybertron, was getting press, I figured it would be the perfect time to see what the original was all about. After all, it was a licensed Transformers game that actually received good reviews from the press. Let me just say that as an actual fan of the series, I have to disagree with all the professional reviewers out there that rated this game higher than a 5/10.
If done correctly, a game based on Transformers could be something special, something that hasn't been done before. Transformers: War for Cybertron, instead of trying to set out on its own path and create a Transformers game with its own personality, feels more like Call of Duty with robots. Granted, it's in third-person, but it might as well not be. The Transformers themselves are nothing to look at, being a weird blend of the Transformers from the Michael Bay films and the old cartoon from the 80s. Instead of being colorful and cool to look at, the dominating colors are gray and brown, making the game a visual bore.
If one approaches the game not expecting it to actually be the fabled high quality Transformers game that the gaming press made it out to be, but rather just another shooter with a gimmick thrown on top, at least it can be appreciated that the gimmick in this game is fun. At a press of a button, you can transform from robot form to vehicle form. The animation is flawlessly done, and throughout the course of the campaign, there is a wide variety of Transformers to play as. From flying Transformers like Starscream to more car-like Transformers like Bumblebee or even Megatron, War for Cybertron is a who's who of the Transformers universe. However, with the game taking place on Cybertron, that means that the forms known and loved in the show, like Optimus Prime's semi truck mode or Megatron's gun, we are treated to their Cybertronian transformations, which are much less interesting.
As for the rest of the game, like I said, it's a typical shooter. All the obligatory shooter levels are stuffed in there. Half of the game sees you playing as the Decepticons and the other half of the game as the Autobots. That's all fine and good, except the stories don't intertwine. The Decepticon story takes place before the Autobot story, meaning that playing the Autobot story will give you a ton of spoilers from what happens during the Decepticon story.
Transformers: War for Cybertron was originally slated to be a prequel to the TV show. That's all fine and good. You can tell that the designers are at least aware of the old show, with plenty of little Easter eggs in the game that makes a nod toward the old show, like achievements named after episode titles. However, the story in War for Cybertron is full of plot holes when compared to the TV show. Granted, the show constantly broke the rules of its own continuity all the time, but still, it's 2010, and more attention to detail would have been appreciated.
There's a multiplayer game mode that works like horde mode, and it's nothing special. It's exactly like any other version of the mode in any other game. It's uninspired, unimpressive, but it's functional. There's no other replayability beyond this and getting achievements and replaying levels, but as I've stressed repeatedly throughout this review, this is nothing you haven't seen before.
It pains me that they took this great opportunity, with this seventh generation hardware, and instead of making a quality Transformers game, they made Call of Duty with robots. Transformers: War for Cybertron is not a good game. If you've only seen the Michael Bay films, it won't impress you in the least, and if you're a diehard fan of the old series, it will just annoy you with its plot holes and poor representations of the looks of the various Transformers in the game.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/25/12
Game Release: Transformers: War for Cybertron (US, 06/22/10)
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